Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Pregnancy

August 1, 2009 is the day that I took a digital pregnancy test and found out that I was pregnant. I went into work that day and tried getting an appointment through my GP for them to do a blood test or something to make sure that I really was pregnant and to go from there. They were not much help at all so I called my CF doctor (Dr. Sexton) to see what they wanted me to do. Dr. Sexton was not in yet so I had to wait for the nurse to call him and then for her to get back to me. The nurse sounded a little worried when she called me back a little later and told me that he wanted to see me at 4:30 that evening. I told my boss that I had to leave early and of course she had to ask me why, so I explained to her that I was most likely pregnant and had to see the doctor pretty much right away. So, I left work early and made my way to Syracuse.

Dr. Sexton and I had a long talk and he told me that it would probably be best if I terminate the pregnancy because I was pretty sick and it would delay getting listed for the double lung and liver transplants. He was pretty sure that an OB would feel the same way. He ordered an ultrasound and some blood work to be done and then we would talk some more after that. Since we weren't sure how far along I was in the pregnancy, it was decided that I would have an internal ultrasound. I had no one with me and of course it was a really difficult time, so my social worker, Kim, at the clinic went to the ultrasound with me. I got down there and settled on the table and no sooner did the technician start the ultrasound, we saw a tiny little baby, swimming in my belly. I started bawling because I was so happy to be pregnant but also because I knew what Dr. Sexton wanted me to do. The technician asked if I wanted a picture and I told her of course I do. It was my baby, and depending on the way the pregnancy went, it may be my only picture. It was determined that I was approximately 9 weeks and 1 day pregnant on that day. I took my picture with me up to Dr. Sexton and I think that he was a little surprised that I really was pregnant. Believe me, I absolutely was too!!

I understood the concerns that people had and was well aware of how hard this pregnancy could be, but I didn't see how I could have an abortion when things were fine at that point. I would never know if I didn't try. The baby was a very unexpected part of me and Nate coming together, and if I had terminated the pregnancy, I would have gone through my life wondering if the baby would have been okay. At 9 weeks, the baby had normal growth and had a heart beat of 169 beats per minute. There was no way I could just give up on the baby now.

On August 11 I had my first OB appointment with Dr. Silverman in Syracuse. They also suggested that I do not go through with the pregnancy because of my Cystic Fibrosis and being evaluated for the transplants. Nate and I decided that we still wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy.

On August 25 I had another appointment with the OB and I also saw a genetic counselor to talk about the possibilities of the baby have CF. They wanted to do an amniocentesis to test the baby for CF and I told them that I didn't want it. I knew that there was a possibility that I could have a miscarriage and, on top of everything else that I was dealing with, I didn't want that statistic to deal with too. I knew very well that Nate could be tested for the gene to find out the possibilities of the baby having CF, so that's what we did. Nate was tested for the CF gene (the common mutations) and when we learned that he didn't have any of the common mutations, we were told that there was still a 1/900 chance that the baby would have CF. Either way, the baby would be a carrier of the gene no matter what because he/she would get the gene from me.

On September 2 I was admitted to the hospital because I was having an increased fever, cough, shortness of breath, and I had lost 6 pounds in one week. I didn't want to be admitted but Dr. Sexton thought that it would be best for the baby so I agreed to go in. I learned something that disturbed me during this hospital stay and it made me realize that going through with the pregnancy was the best thing to do. Dr. Sexton had talked to Dr. Budev and Dr. Winans (doctors at the Cleveland Clinic) and they suggested that I get my tubes tied after this pregnancy because having a baby after the transplants would be way too risky. I think what disturbed me the most was if I had terminated this pregnancy, I would likely never have another chance at having a family of my own. I was upset that this was not mentioned to me while I was making my decision to go ahead with the pregnancy or not. I now knew that I was completely justified in my decision to go ahead and have the baby. I started feeling better after a couple of days of being in the hospital and was sent home on the sixth to finish another week of antibiotics through IV at home.

September 12 I had another appointment with the OB and it took the nurse a minute to find the heart beat, but she found it. The heart beat was 169-175 beats per minute and people were telling me that normally a heart beat that fast belonged to a girl. I was hoping to find out on the 26th when I would have another ultrasound. On September 21 I felt the baby move for the first time. It really just felt like butterflies in my stomach but I knew what it was. It's really a feeling like no other. The baby moved from the left of my belly to the right and the feeling was amazing!

On September 26 I had another ultrasound to check on the baby and to make sure that it was growing properly. Everything was looking great and the baby weighed about 7 ounces at that point. The baby cooperated with the ultrasound and the baby showed that it was a BOY! I had a lot of people there with me but the funniest reaction came from my brother, Harlan, who had wanted me to have a girl. He asked the technician if she was sure that it wasn't just the baby's fingers in the way, making it look like a penis. She said that she was sure, and that left my brother disappointed. We had been keeping a list of boy names and girl names that we like and I guess that it was destiny that we were having a boy because we had a name that we agreed on...Brady Michael Prince.

On September 29 it was determined that it would no longer be safe for me to continue working so I left work on a temporary leave, expecting to go back to work after the baby was born.

Nate felt Brady move for the first time on October 21. On October 25 I was admitted back to the hospital for a staff infection in my lungs. I had some cramping in my stomach on the 27th and Dr. Folk checked me to make sure that I was not dilating and going into premature labor. I wasn't and he ordered an ultrasound for the next morning to make sure the baby was okay. The baby was in some weird position when the ultrasound was performed and he was also playing with the umbilical cord and kicking it. I got a picture of the baby sucking his thumb and it was determined that the baby was okay. I was released on Halloween to go home.

Picture of Brady's face in an ultrasound on 11/21/05

On December 5 I had an appointment with Dr. Silverman and he decided to admit me to Crouse Irving Hospital in Syraucse because the baby hadn't been showing much movement, my oxygen was low, and my breathing and cough were getting bad again. I was 27 weeks along and the doctors felt that it would be best to keep me in the hospital from that point until I had the baby. A sonogram showed that the baby was growing fine and he weighed about 2 pounds 3 ounces.

On December 20 there was an ultrasound performed and it showed that the baby was growing fine and that he weighed 2 pounds 9 ounces. The blood flow through the umbilical cord was a little slow and the doctors decided to keep track of that by doing and ultrasound every Tuesday and Friday. The doctors also were talking of doing a c-section in the next two to four weeks. On December 26 I got the news that I will have the c-section to deliver the baby on January 9, 2006. There was much debate back and forth about if I could have a vaginal delivery or if it really had to be c-section. I was a little worried about having a vaginal delivery and I voiced my concerns about it...that I didn't have the lung capacity to push and that it would make me too tired. In the end, it was decided that it would be a c-section and that I would have my tubes tied also.

January 9 came and went without a baby being born...well, not mine anyway. I had my blood drawn early that morning and my platelet counts were really low and they didn't feel that it was safe for me to have the c-section with my counts being that low. I kept telling the nurses and the doctors to call Dr. Sexton because he has dealt with my labs being low and me needing surgery...he would know what to do. They didn't call Dr. Sexton, instead they had a hematologist come see me and in the end, the hematologist said that he wanted to talk to Dr. Sexton because he knew my case more than anyone. I was so happy but also so annoyed that people didn't listen to me sooner. The decided that they would do the c-section the next day.

January 10, 2006 the doctors decided that it was really necessary to get the baby out. Brady had not been showing much movement and with my blood levels being low, it was not a safe environment for the baby. I was taken up to the 8th floor of the hospital shortly after one o'clock to prepare for the c-section. The nurses ran a bag of fresh frozen plasma into me to increase my platelet count and as soon as the platelets were in, I was taken into the operating room to be prepped for surgery. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal which wasn't as bad as I thought but it was still uncomfortable. I was situated on the table and then Nate came in to be by my side. Dr. Folk performed the c-section while Dr. Nosavich stood by his side in case there were any complications. Dr. Folk started the c-section and when he started making the incision I could feel him cutting into me so he had to stop and put some local anesthetic in to finish numbing the area. Once that settled in, he continued and I couldn't feel it anymore. There was another point after a couple of minutes that I could feel some more pain so they put some medication in my IV and then continued again.

After some tugging and pulling, the baby was out and he came out screaming with some nice and healthy lungs. Brady Michale Prince was born at 2:45 in the afternoon and weighed 3 pounds 5 ounces and was 15 1/4 inches long. I was so happy to hear that I had a screaming baby but also couldn't help that think all of these doctors didn't want me to go through with carrying him. The nurses checked Brady out really quick and then bundled him up. I got to see my tiny little thing for a brief moment before they rushed him off to the NICU. Dr. Folk then continued with the tubaligation and then closed me up. As I was being closed up, Nate went to report to everyone that Brady was finally here. He was 7 weeks early but he was breathing on his own, needed no oxygen, and no other machines other than some heart monitors. He was also a little jaundice so he needed to be under the special lights. As I was in recovery I was informed that there was something wrong with his right eye. The doctors weren't quite sure what was wrong yet, but his right eyelid was sunken in and he was not opening it. But, other than that, he was healthy and I was happy. He had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a head full of blonde hair that looked like it needed to be cut already.

6 comments:

Christy said...

What a beautiful story! What a joy pregnancy and children are! Brady will love reading this story one day. :)

Jeana said...

Somehow on reading another blog, I stumbled on yours and just had to read it, since I, too, have CF and just had my son Alex on February 23rd. I had a lot of problems during my pregnancy, including 3 hospitalizations and a lot of IV drugs. Although my lung function began at probably a higher percent, since I am not yet to the transplant stage, mine did dip down from 80% to 46%. Anyway, I am so happy for you that your pregnancy was successful and your transplant apparently, too.

mabel said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://maternitymotherhood.net

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Gemma said...

Hi I have just found your blog, thank you so much for sharing this story. I have CF too and my fev1 is in the 40% range. I have been told I should not try get pregnant however I am finding it hard to accept this advice. Your story has given me hope so thank you xx

MyBaby said...

Congratulations to those women who are pregnant or have fertility to get pregnant again, tubal reversal is a procedure which restores fertility in such women to pregnant again after tubal ligation.